"I wonder if that was from the pastrami rueben I had yesterday?"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: The Prophecy

It seemed like a bargain - 6 movies for 5 dollars.  Of course, all six movies were The Prophecy 1 through 6, but my brain ignored that inconvenient fact (along with the fact that this was a grocery store hawking dvd's in a bargain bin) and I happily deposited the 6-movies-on-3-DVDs set in my cart.

Mind you, I still have a 6 month old in my house and have zero time to watch movies.  That, and the infant currently sleeps in the same room as the main DVD player.  (Incidentally this is the reason I've watched T.V. exclusively on mute with closed captioning for the last 6 months.)  I thought I could make it work.  I saw my opportunity when my wife left for a few hours with the baby for a support group for (relatively) new moms.  Dishes be darned, laundry be darned, porch in desperate need of sanding and painting be darned, I was going to watch a movie and get my .833333 cents worth. 

My view could be squewed by the fact that I was giddy to be watching anything with the sound turned on, but Prophecy wasn't exactly bad.  Well, the 30 minutes of it I watched weren't bad.  Then I stopped.  I doubt this is a spoiler to anyone who cares, but the film seemed to be centered on certain angels, led by Gabriel (played by the ever-creepy Christopher Walken) instigating a second war in heaven (the first having been led by lucifer).  I got to the point where Walken fries a hapless Eric Stoltz (who is an angel on the 'good' side, if any side is good in this film) and stopped watching.

An asside:  there are certain things I don't watch, ever, even if they're corny.  One of them is the show Ghost Hunters, because I refuse to take ghosts seriously or watch anyone else who does the same.  This is because I am weak minded and would have trouble sleeping for the rest of my life if I believed for a second that there were dead people from every past generation floating around houses just waiting to cover me in ectoplasm.  Another thing I don't watch are films that take certain liberties with certain... figures, let's say. 

Gabriel, I'm told, was the angel who let Mary know she would soon be pregnant.  Gabriel is an archangel, right up there with Michael and pre-fall lucifer.  There is no way he turned into Christopher Walken, no matter how bad a day he had.  It just couldn't happen.  If they had made up a name for Walken's character other than Gabriel, I might not have taken issue with the film.  There are other films with angels in them that I've watched -  Constatine, for example.  Now that's a bad film (that I enjoyed watching), and exactly why that was palatable to me and Prophecy wasn't is a thing I can't exactly put into words.  Perhaps I can't take a film seriously with Shia Lebeouf in it.

I'm sorry that this is a review of a film, rather, 30 minutes of a  film that I stopped watching due to my own foibles.  There aren't many.  Add Prophecy movies to the list.  There you have it.  There were cool parts, like a recent suicide victim acting as Walken's lackey for a time with the promise that he'd be really dead once his service was over.  I liked that angels perch on things like ravens while they're observing things. 

Yep.  Might be a cool film.  I'll never know.  And I'm not watching the other 5 to find how they turn out, either.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I've been going back through the Pathfinder rulebook since a)  it's been a while, b) most of the people I relied on to correct my rules knowledge aren't currently playing as far as I know so now it's on me to be the rules expert in an inexperienced group, and c) holy crap are there a lot of mechanics I've never used.  Particularly the skill rules.  I started on 1e AD&D where there were no skills and never really played with them much in 2nd or 3rd.  I'll go ahead and say it:  I'm not a purely OSR kind of DM.  I actually don't mind if player agency is dimished by character ability at times.  If I have a player who doesn't want to roleplay much, so be it, make a diplomacy roll and be done with it (although I've had some great outpourings of role playing from players who told me they don't much care for that sort of thing).  I like role playing a lot, and I'm heavily into it when I'm a character, but when I'm a DM I want players to want to come back to the table again and again.  That definitely involves making the player feel challenged, and that can't be done just by measuring out stat blocks against character capabilities.  I want them to have ideas I never thought of in the creation of the dungeon.  I want them to speculate about the little snippets I throw in that hint at a greater backstory, but they're free to ignore them as well.

Not sure why I felt the need to say that, since I don't know that anyone was wondering.  I guess I think the OSR is a cool thing - that people are still that passionate about the ideas and underpinnings of this game - but I'd rather not pigeonhole myself into any category, even a cool one.  Again, not that anyone asked me.  I sort of like the skill rules for Diplomacy.  I like that a player who foolishly spent feats just to increase his roll might talk the hostile princess into running away with him and abandoning her betrothed on the night before the wedding.  Does there have to be a rule set for this scene to happen?  I suppose not.  In fact I know from experience that it doesn't.  But I like there to be a framework that the players and the DM have a common reference to.  (Damn, ending a sentence in a preposition.)

Anyhoo, I don't think I can remember every single rule from the hundreds of pages I've read through (again) and I'll definitely make stuff up on the fly since none of my players will know the difference

(Unless they read this specific entry, to which I say:  I'm sorry you had to find out that I'm a fraud in this fashion - I should have told you up front that I know nothing.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

This Sunday's Session

A party of mostly parental players met on Sunday night for a brief 3 hour sojourn into the bowels of the Misty Monk Brewery.  They’re other choices, rejected out of hand in favor of beating up monks and the possibility of getting soused, were the Deadcliffe Caverns and the Fens of Filimore.  The monks, it seemed, had stopped producing their world famous ale a few days ago, and the doors had remained shut and locked.

A locked door was no match for Ripley the Halfling stereoty… I mean thief.  She quickly popped the lock and the PC’s were in like a swashbuckling icon I’ve yet to invent for this world.  There was a secret entrance behind a nearby waterfall, but the front door worked, too.  Inside the brewery the Witch, Hazel, ever hungry for knowledge, started reading books on the shelf in the entrance hall.  One of the volumes, “The History of Mister Misty, Mascott of the Misty Monk Brewery,” caused a secret door to open into another chamber.  Ripley rapidly lost interest in the statues he was examining upon the appearance of the secret room.  Hazel kept the volumes, “Secrets of Ale Making” and “The Cronwell incident – When Monks Father Children.”

The room was rather lavishly decorated with a gold-inlaid tapestry and a silver bust of a bald, severe-looking monk which the placard identified as the current Father Superior of the monastery/brewery.  Not one with a head for figures, Ripley asked Mix to appraise the tapestry and other objects in the room.  Meanwhile Hazel learned through perusing letters on the Father’s desk that he had been ordered to find new methods of productions before his staff or the general populous were severely injured.  The group speculated as to how something dire must have already happened that caused the shutdown.  Hazel also learned from the books that some had speculated the monks were tampering with supernatural forces beyond their control in the process of their brew making.

Further into the Brewery, the party came across a room that must have been for record keeping, although the furniture had now been smashed to kindling.  There were the bodies of 6 monks on the ground.  Upon further examination by the witch’s familiar, the monks’ stomachs were distended and seemed to writhe.  This was all the provocation Graela the half-orc barbarian needed to strike, and as she roared her battle cry one of the monks, his features bloated and his eyes milky white, rose to meet her charge.  One swipe of a greatsword later, the monk lay in pieces on the floor (some pieces splattered on a wall), but something remained.  A strange liquid oozed from it’s wounds and its mouth and extended a pseudopod at Graela!

In the battle that ensued, Bolo the fighter, Ripley and Graela engaged the possessed monks in melee, all of which carried the strange writhing liquid within them.  Mix managed to destroy the liquid with bombs, while the melee fighters made quick work of the possessed monks.

Shortly after, we ran out of time as both (real life) babies were crying and one of the players had to adjourn for work.  It was an enjoyable session and I hope the group can meet again some time.  I am still hopeful my original group can meet again soon, as well.  It’s been too long.